College Football Playoff is an imperfect response to an unanswerable question

Jose Verdugo
Diciembre 8, 2017

A masterpiece of scheduling luck.

Granted, Alabama did schedule Florida State, which was a preseason top-five team, however, the Seminoles managed just to be 6-6. That loss by itself was enough to sink Ohio State's chances, at least in the committee's view. No. 6 Wisconsin (12-1): Large bruises.

Given that explanation and the way the committee ranked Alabama all season, what happened Sunday shouldn't come as a massive shock. Then this fury would go beyond, to those outside Pennsylvania who might have lived or studied in Pennsylvania.

Here's a fact of life: If Penn State fans suspect you have slighted their team, they do not mind advising you of this viewpoint.

Las Vegas has Alabama as two point favorites. Penn State travels to Pitt, and Michigan State to Arizona State the following week. When it came down to it, the committee believed Alabama passed the eye test better than Ohio State. Further, it would diminish things if it worked the way some envision it: Five conference champions, three at-large teams.

Alabama lost one game on the road to a team that beat both #3 Georgia and lost to #1 Clemson on the road by 8 points.

A five-loss playoff team would sully the Declaration of Independence.

Ohio State's argument why it should be in the playoff instead of Alabama kept coming back to who it played and who the Crimson Tide played. This was out-and-out, to borrow a word from the late Molly Ivins, horsepucky.

"The selection committee just favored Alabama's full body of work over Ohio State, and it was consistent over the course of the year, as we saw Alabama play week in and week out", committee chairman Kirby Hocutt told Rece Davis after the semifinals were announced.

Conference championships are officially dead. The members consider strength of schedule, strength of record, wins against ranked opponents, and conference championships.

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But it's clear what impact it's having on conference championships. Everyone still prints T-shirts for conference championships, although Alabama might have stopped because its stores have no room left.

The new format fixes this, but at the same time, opens the doors for teams such as Alabama, arguably the best team in the country, to make the playoffs, even without earning a berth in its conference championship.

More specifically, it was the selection committee that for the second consecutive year has bypassed the team with the Big Ten's silver football and delivered the fatal blow.

Not finished yet when finishing would have helped, Edsall supplied a hashtag with this nugget: #AllAboutTheMoney.

But it wasn't all about Ohio State's stumble. The state of Alabama, the nation's 24th-most populous, has a population of 4.9 million.

In all honesty, Ohio State should have been disqualified from consideration for that awful 55-24 loss against Iowa. Ohio State was given the No. 3 seed, and there was a strong case that the Big Ten - not the once-vaunted SEC that is now a shell of its former self - should have been the conference to bust down the two-team door with Penn State edging Washington.

It's always puzzling when an exercise that's #AllAboutTheMoney chooses the lesser amount of money.

Then Saturday night happened, and the biggest piece that had to fall into place did: Ohio State beat undefeated Wisconsin, leaving the Tide and the Buckeyes jockeying for the No. 4 spot.

And the solution to that is to make more meaningful games mean nothing?

"Let's have everyone have the same number of conference games, the same number of non-conference games, and it would be great to have some continuity about scheduling, which is what a lot of us on the West Coast have been asking for", Stanford Coach David Shaw said, after the Cardinal accepted an Alamo Bowl bid. That's what you get if you compare Wisconsin against Alabama.

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